By Nick Hornby
Review By Jenn Kane
Though Nick Hornby has never seemed to recapture the chemistry that produced High Fidelity, he certainly hasn’t stopped trying. That novel lodged him firmly in the pop-culture echelon, and Hornby seems to have figured out that he has a way with writing about music. His newest, Juliet, Naked, is another story propped up by songs. The title of the book is lifted from the title of a fictional acoustic album by the main character, singer/songwriter Tucker Crowe. The electric version of the album, Juliet, about Tucker’s infidelities with a wispy, beautiful WASP named Julia, gathered a crazed but minor following: a group of Internet stalkers who obsess over Tucker’s every move, or lack thereof—he hasn’t put out any new material since the ’80s. One such stalker, Duncan, resides in the itty bitty fictional British seaside town of Gooleness with his long-suffering girlfriend, Annie. When Duncan posts a glowing review of Juliet, Naked, Annie feels compelled to write an opposing piece. Tucker e-mails Annie after seeing her brutal but funny and honest review, which is the beginning of their friendship-cum-courtship. The book flits between coasts until Tucker finally makes the trip overseas and the results are a bit jarring, but you can’t deny Hornby’s knack for writing adorably disturbed male characters. It’s only his far-too-reasonable females that feel a little false. But then again, if that’s the way he see us ladies, things could be worse.